The Prince and the Prosecutor

Peter J. Heck, Author
Peter J. Heck, Author Berkley Publishing Group $21.95 (320p) ISBN 978-0-425-15970-5
Reviewed on: 12/01/1997
Release date: 12/01/1997
Mass Market Paperbound - 324 pages - 978-0-425-16567-6
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Mark Twain's abilities as a detective seem to have grown substantially in this third adventure (A Connecticut Yankee in Criminal Court; Death on the Mississippi). Accompanied by his secretary, Cabot Wentworth, who doubles as the chronicler of these congenial mysteries, Twain sets sail for London aboard the steamship City of Baltimore. Fellow passengers include a young Rudyard Kipling and his wife, Carrie; a few former Yale classmates of Wentworth's; a German prince of dubious provenance; and a party of Philadelphians that includes the boorish young Robert Babson, his fiancee, both their families and the foppish Italian artist they've paid to be their guide in Europe. Also aboard is a minister and his son, the latter of whom pines for Babson's fiancee. While Twain and Kipling exchange tales and the more famous and extroverted American flashes his wit at the captain's table, other passengers are not getting on so well. In fact, young Babson annoys and offends all those outside his party. When he disappears during a storm at night, his father, a Philadelphia prosecutor, accuses the putative prince of murder and has enough evidence to persuade the captain to confine the man to his cabin. Twain, Wentworth and the Kiplings team up to discover the truth before the ship reaches port. Heck's Twain proves to be an entertaining replica of the original and a clever detective to boot. (Dec.)
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